Report: Anti-LGBT Violence Has Increased In Russia Since "Propaganda" Ban

Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that Russia has been unfairly labeled as anti-LGBT. A new report from Human Rights Watch paints a starkly different portrait.

A new report from Human Rights Watch details rising violence against LGBT people in Russia since the country adopted a ban on "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" among minors in 2013. The research comes on the heels of Russian President Vladimir Putin's comments that his country has been unfairly labeled as anti-LGBT.

"Russia recognizes and does not infringe upon the rights of people with non-traditional sexual orientations," Putin said at a Dec. 5 meeting with Russian human rights officials.

The Human Rights Watch report, based on dozens of interviews with Russian LGBT individuals and activists conducted in 2013 and 2014, paints a starkly different portrait.

Violent attacks targeting LGBT activists have increased in the last two years, advocates told Human Rights Watch.

Dmitry Chizhevsky, an activist in St. Petersburg, lost his sight in one eye after masked intruders attacked a local HIV prevention center that serves LGBT people.

Seven educators supportive of LGBT rights found their jobs in jeopardy.

All were teachers, youth workers, or university professors who told Human Rights Watch they were threatened or pressured to resign, several on the grounds they were spreading "gay propaganda." Only two remain in their positions.

Just over half of the victims of anti-LGBT attacks and harassment interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they reported these incidents to the police.

Several of the activists quoted in the report have since left Russia to seek asylum in other countries.

Watch LGBT activists tell their stories here:

View this video on YouTube

Read the full Human Rights Watch report here:

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